A record-breaking level of green energy was generated in the UK in 2022, according to new analysis from Imperial College London for Drax Electric Insights.
The researchers found that 40% of the UK’s electricity came from solar, wind, biomass and hydropower last year, up from 35% the previous year.
Over the past decade, renewable energy has more than quadrupled, with the share of renewables increasing dramatically from 8% in 2012.
However, despite the dramatic growth in the renewables sector, the unprecedentedly high cost of gas meant that power prices also hit a new all-time high.
“This has been a year like no other for the energy industry. The public are feeling the pain of high gas prices on their energy bills even though renewables are providing the grid with more cheap, green electricity than ever before,” said Dr. Iain Staffell of Imperial College London. “The lesson from 2022 is that we need to break our addiction to fossil fuels once and for all if we want lower cost and more secure energy supplies. If we had not invested in wind, solar and biomass over the last decade our energy bills would have been even higher, as would the risk of blackouts over winter.”
Instead of relying on imported fuel, the UK needed to generate its own power from renewable sources, Staffell added.
“The energy crisis cannot be solved by increasing our reliance on gas imported from abroad. We need to turbocharge our investment in clean energy technologies to become Europe’s renewable electricity powerhouse, which will cut fuel bills at home and bring money into the economy by exporting power to our neighbouring countries,” Staffell said, according to Business Green.
The report showed that Britain had become a net exporter of electric power for the first time in over a decade.
The increase in energy generated by renewable sources in Britain resulted in a lowering of carbon dioxide emissions by almost three million tons compared to 2021. Power from renewables has also gone up more than four times in the past ten years.
At one point in May of 2022, 72.8% of the grid’s power came from renewable sources.
Last year, the UK economy saw more than $3.59 billion from exports of approximately 1.9 terawatt hours of electricity.